U.S. using China as financial "windshield": report

Developing nations have served as "windshields" to a U.S. economy battered by the global financial maelstrom, yet it is blaming them for a problem caused by its own policies, China's state media said on Wednesday.

Two stinging commentaries on the official Xinhua news agency accused U.S. officials of confusing cause and effect and of trying to shift guilt for tumbling stock markets and collapsing pension funds and house prices away from their own desks.

"A strange view has emerged recently from some U.S. government and economic circles, which says high savings in emerging markets such as China and oil exporting countries sowed the seeds of a global credit bubble," one commentary said.

"The statement is both irresponsible and untenable," it said, although did not clarify what it was basing the commentary on.

A second commentary took direct aim at Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and out-going Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, while calling on Washington to put its house in order.

"As the ancient Chinese sage Confucius said: 'On seeing a man without virtue, examine yourself to be sure you do not have the same defects.'" said the piece, signed by reporter Huang Xin.

Stricken U.S. firms were damaging foreign stock markets as they sold off overseas assets to protect core interests at home, Huang added, making emerging nations take an unfairly high share of the economic pain.

"If we compare the U.S. economy to a car, emerging markets have somehow served as windshields amid the battering of the financial storm," it said.

The commentaries do not necessarily represent the views of China's leaders. But they adds to a growing chorus of disdain for U.S. economic policy and global financial dominance, even as the two governments celebrate 30 years of diplomatic ties.

Xinhua acknowledged that China's high savings rate and low domestic consumption contributed to the world's current problems, as Chinese exports sailed to the U.S. and dollars to pay for them streamed into Beijing's coffers, but also insisted they were not the root cause of the financial crisis.

"The urgent task for the United States, the world's biggest and most important economy, is not to shirk its responsibilities, but find solutions for the crisis," it said.

[Source: Reuters, Beijing, Chn, 07Jan09]

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